Inside the Collections Care Project: Salem Souvenir

Oct 27, 2015

Instantly recognizable as a souvenir of Salem, Massachusetts, this silver spoon was made by William B. Durgin silversmiths exclusively for Daniel Low & Co., a fine gift and jewelry shop located on the corner of Washington and Essex Streets in the Halloween capital.

Many Salemites can still recall shopping at Daniel Low & Co., which operated from 1874 until 1995. And what an experience it was! The store was centrally located on Town House Square in a three-story brick building with twin towers. The building, originally built in 1826, housed the First Church on the upper floors and retail space on the first.

The year Daniel Low & Co. moved in, the building was expanded and renovated in the Victorian Gothic style. The interior of the store was elegantly decorated with chandeliers, a wide central staircase, and rows of glass display cases featuring fine jewelry, watches, glasses, and other expensive luxury items. Today, you may know the building as the home of Rockafella’s Restaurant.

Salem, known as the witch city, was already a tourist destination when Daniel Low & Co. first offered their witch souvenir spoon for sale around 1891. The retailer advertised the spoon nationally. It was among the offerings in the first “Daniel Low Year Book” mail-order catalog of 1892.

This particular spoon is from Historic New England’s Marrett House in Standish, Maine, and was a bequest of the last owner of the house, Francis Marrett.

For more items related to Daniel Low & Co. in Historic New England’s collection, please search our Collections Access database. And to help preserve objects such as this, please consider a donation to the Collections and Conservation Fund.